Monday, 27 April 2015

My Village - Mummers Draft Excluder

This is a project inspired by a winter thing and is a follow up to this post where I detailed how I made our much needed draft excluder based on simple line drawings done by Himself of local historic buildings.  Unfortunately we have more than one door which doesn't fit its door hole so I needed to make another excluder.  This time I based it on the Boxing Day Mummers in our village.  A group of about 9 locals, dress in paper costumes and perform short medieval plays three times at different locations down the high street.  They attract large crowds each year and it's a proudly owned tradition.
Again, I asked Himself to draw me some very basic shapes (he's good at that sort of thing) which I could then applique onto the outer case of the draft excluder.
Then I had the fun job of finding the right mix of textures, patterns and colours.  Because the Mummer's Plays are a mid-winter celebration, I wanted to have red white and green but the colours had to work in a way which would be good all year round and be jolly.  In one of my frequent rummages in my local fabric shop I found some newsprint style fabric and that had to be included since the Mummer's costumes are made from strips of paper.  Below I'm laying out the cut out pieces and trying out the design on the outer casing of the excluder.
It's quite fiddly.  All those little pieces of bunting are made from individual pieces.  You can see the discarded bits of applique backing paper.  I had to get a bit busy with the hoover once I'd completed the project, there were bits of paper all over the place.
How's it looking now?
A bit more fiddling about...
Mostly happy with that layout so now I can remove all the backing paper and iron into place.
Stuck on and ready for the sewing.
I am happy to admit I'm not very good at machine embroidery.  I love it but I wobble everywhere and have a messy technique. (Don't look too closely.)
See what I mean?  But it doesn't matter.  No one's going to get that close to the finished item.
I use a hoop to try and hold it all taught.
Despite the wonky sewing, I like our locally inspired, handmade things around the house. They root us in our home and our village and have a little story behind them.  Himself has promised to do me some simple line drawings of other local landmarks and I'll use them to make some cushions in the future. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Spring in the village

The buds are swelling, the birds are tweeting and the daisies are popping up all through the grass.  The lawnmower has been dusted off and is in use once a week and everyone is visiting garden centers.  It’s spring in the village!
After the dark gloom of winter we are now enjoying longer days and some sunshine.  
I’ve thrown some seeds in pots and am using the window of the shed as a mock greenhouse to bring them on.  If my plan works, we’ll have french beans, broad beans, sweet peas, cucamelons, garlic, mint, parsley, sunflowers and lobelia all over the place. 
We’ve added a blueberry bush and a small olive tree to our collection too.  The great thing about not knowing what you’re doing gardening-wise is you try anything!  If the plant sulks or dies, you just don’t do whatever it was that you did again.  
In our orchard (of exactly two apple trees and one cherry tree), the blossom is just waiting to burst out and make us smile.  Last year we had 2 apples.  This year we’re hoping for a bumper harvest of 3 apples.
And now just look at all the colours zinging into life around us!   The blue splash of forget me nots spreads further each year. 
We're training honeysuckle to climb up the shed partly to hide it a bit and partly so we can overdose on it's amazing scent as we work in the garden.
Our narrow lanes which have been bordered by bare stone walls for ages are filling up with limey green, fresh nettles, pink things and white things.   

The tree opposite us acts as our seasonal barometer and to see it gradually turn from sombre brown to vivid green is very cheery.

  In the sunshine everything looks fresh and clean.
The valley invites evening walks and this is the place we come owl spotting.  There are a couple of Little Owls living in a barn nearby and we've heard a Screech Owl although we've not had sight of it yet. 
In a couple of weeks we'll need to kick our way through the nettles which will invade this path but for now it is full of promise for the summer ahead and when the sun shines, it's nice to fantasise that it always will....